ESPE Abstracts (2014) 82 P-D-1-1-109

Identification of Brown Adipocyte Progenitor Marker Genes in Progenitor Cells from Human Deep Neck and Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue by Gene Array Analysis

Daniel Tewsa, Verena Schwara, Theresia Webera, Marc Scheithauera, Tobias Frommeb, Martin Klingensporb, Thomas F Bartha, Peter Möllera, Pamela Fischer-Posovszkya & Martin Wabitscha


aUniversity Medical Center Ulm, Ulm, Germany; bMolecular Nutritional Medicine, Technical University Munich, Munich, Germany


Background: Studies in animal models revealed that brown and white adipocytes derive from different progenitor cells. Molecular characteristics of these cells have not been investigated in detail in humans.

Objective and hypotheses: To identify novel markers of human brown adipocyte progenitor cells.

Method: Progenitor cells from human paired deep neck and subcutaneous adipose tissue samples were obtained from n=12 subjects and progenitor cells were isolated. A subset of cells was differentiated into adipocytes in vitro. Expression profile of progenitor cells was assessed by gene array analysis. Real-time PCR was performed to assess mRNA expression of selected genes.

Results: According to marker gene expression, deep neck progenitor cells differentiated into brown adipocytes in vitro. Compared to subcutaneous progenitor cells, cells from the deep neck adipose tissue show marked differences in gene expression pattern including 355 differentially regulated (>1.5-fold) genes. Analysis of highest regulated genes revealed that STMN2, MME, ODZ2, NRN1, and IL13RA2 genes were specifically expressed in white progenitor cells, whereas expression of LRRC17, CNTNAP3, CD34, RGS7BP, and ADH1B marked brown progenitor cells.

Conclusion: The ability of human adipocyte progenitor cells to differentiate into brown-like adipocytes is depot-specific and is based on intrinsic differences in gene expression. Our data provide potential molecular targets involved in the genetic determination of brown adipocyte precursor cells.